Strong demand for PCBs and IC substrates is sending suppliers increasing capacity, which in turn is extending order visibility at equipment suppliers to second-half 2022. And shortage of ABF substrates for notebook processors are expected to widen. Rising foundry costs amid tight supply are expected erode IC designers' profits, as their customers are now relutant to accept further price increases.
ACM Research, a supplier of wafer cleaning technologies for advanced semiconductor devices, has had its Shanghai-based subsidiary start trading on the science and technology innovation board (STAR) of China's Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) recently.
Peripheral backend supply chain players including makers of high-end customized IC testing sockets, wafer probe cards and burn-in boards, apart from ABF substrates, are all gearing up for robust demand for HPC chips in 2022, according to industry sources.
United Microelectronics (UMC) has agreed to make a one-time payment of an undisclosed amount to Micron Technology according to a settlement agreement reached between the two. As part of the deal, the companies will also withdraw their complaints globally against the other party.
The US Department of Commerce has imposed trade sanctions on a total of 27 foreign companies with 12 of them based in China, 13 in Pakistan, one in Japan and one in Singapore. These Chinese companies were banned because of their alleged support for China's military development and quantum computing projects.
Taiwan-based equipment suppliers engaged in the PCB and IC substrate sectors have seen order visibility extended to the second half of next year, thanks to their clients increasing capital investments in capacity expansions, according to industry sources.
Taiwan-based IC design houses particularly second-tier players are poised to see their profits eroded by rising foundry costs in 2022, as their customers are increasingly reluctant to accept higher prices, according to industry sources.
Going beyond Moore's Law has become an important force driving advanced semiconductor technology. Top companies such as TSMC, Samsung Electronics and Intel are all already seeing advancements in 2D process miniaturization and 3D heterogeneous integration.
Samsung Electronics will reportedly increase the production of its Exynos chipsets for Galaxy smartphones to raise the proportion of its in-house processors in Galaxy devices and lower dependence on US chipmaker Qualcomm.
To meet surging demand for heterogeneous chips, TSMC is expected to adopt a more agile mode of cooperation with OSATs. TSMC's majr foundry competitor Samsung Electronics has announced plans to build a new fab in the US state of Texas. Samsung is eyeing orders from major US chip vendors. China first-tier lithium battery makers have refrained from raising prices this year, but they are now looking to raise prices by 20% next year.
Electric vehicles (EV) have been one of the most talked-about topics of 2021. In Taiwan, in addition to Foxconn's MIH Alliance recently surpassing 2,000 members, Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (PSMC) chairman Frank Huang began preparations for establishing the Taiwan Advanced Automotive Technology Development Association (TADA) in 2020. TADA reportedly has already received backing from key EV supply chain members Pegatron, AU Optronics (AUO) and the Taiwan Computer Association.
TSMC has outsourced part of its chip-on-wafer-on-substrate (CoWoS) packaging to OSATs including Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL) and Amkor, particularly for low-volume customized products, according to industry sources.
Samsung Electronics has introduced a new strategy to quickly involve South Korean IC designers in the 3nm foundry ecosystem by strengthening its 3nm semiconductor foundry design support infrastructure.
According to the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the global semiconductor manufacturing revenue including wafer foundry and IC package and testing industries, grew 13.6% from US$501 billion in 2019 to US$570 billion in 2020, with Taiwan's corresponding revenues growing from US$86 billion to US$109 billion. With contribution of 20% for the global semiconductor industry, Taiwan is the world's second-largest semiconductor powerhouse next to the US, surpassing South Korea and Japan and leaving China far behind.
Samsung Electronics has announced plans to invest an estimated US$17 billion in the establishment of a new semiconductor manufacturing facility in Taylor, Texas. The fab will be dedicated to producing advanced logic semiconductor solutions that power next-generation innovations and technologies.
Samsung Electronics has disclosed plans to set up an advanced wafer fab in Texas. The new fab that will be equipped with advanced process manufacturing equipment and facilities will be striving to win advanced chip orders from AMD and other US chip vendors, according to industry sources.
Shortage of foundry supply is sending major smartphone application processors vendors booking 12-inch fab capacity in advance to facilitate shipments of their power management ICs next year. Memory maker Winbond expects to run at full capacity next year to fulfill robust NOR flash chip orders. DIGITIMES recently talked to Stephen Ezell, ITIF VP of Global Innovation Policy, about why India and others should joint ITA-3.
Smartphone application processor vendors including Apple, Qualcomm and MediaTek have moved to reserve the available 12-inch BCD (bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) process capacity at foundries for their demand for power management ICs next year, according to industry sources.
Leadframe supplier Chang Wah Technology (CWTC) remains optimistic about demand from the IC backend sector in 2022, despite market concerns about recent corrections in OSATs' capacity utilization rates.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) issued a report in September titled "How an Information Technology Agreement 3.0 would bolster global economic growth and opportunity," which is likely to ignite a new round of policy deliberation and debate among emerging countries that have not participated in the previous round of ITA. DIGITIMES tapped on the insight of Stephen Ezell, VP of Global Innovation Policy at ITIF, to discuss why it is essential now to start related policy considerations, as the demand for semiconductor capacity, the repositioning of global supply chains, and the call to deal with climate change and fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals require an ITA-3 in place sooner rather than later.
Memory vendors are increasing output for 176-layer 3D NAND chips although they are generally cautious about expanding overall supply the NAND market. But the foundry sector is much more eager to expand capacity. TSMC's ecosystem partners are set to see strong shipments to satisfy the needs of the world's top pure-play foundry house. In a recent interview with DIGITIMES, Inventec chairman Tom Cho expressed optimism that Taiwan's ICT firms will have a key role to play future cars.
TSMC's ecosystem partners, particularly equipment makers, are poised to embrace strong growth momentum, as the foundry will be expanding its fab capacities over the next three years, according to industry sources.